Drowning in the quicksand

March 27, 2018

Today I talk about how writing is like drowning in quicksand.

Yes, you heard me right. Drowning in quicksand.

And yet you have to trust the process. It is the only way you might survive.

I’ve heard it said, though never *thankfully* experienced, that if you fall into quicksand, you are not supposed to struggle for that makes you sink faster. If you can remain calm, you will actually float. That’s certainly not something I want to test out. Ever! However, I also know that things found in the physical world often replicate things in the world of the interior self. Nature is often a mirror which reflects.

So when I reflected on my writing process this weekend, I realized that it really was a lot like falling into quicksand.

For two days, I fretted and worried over what I was going to do. This scene was important. One character had just expanded up on it, blowing my plans out of the water. Oh, this was good and needed to be done. I’d been seeing visions of it in my head for a couple weeks, I just didn’t know where it would happen and I certainly didn’t expect it to be during this one scene. I have barely three weeks to get this story together! I can’t have a section where I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have to get it all together, like now!

I talked with both my boys about it. Neither had an answer for me. I thought about it. I tried to program myself to dream about it; instead I had a dream about Robert Downey Jr. coming into my day job office. (Yeah, mark that down as an epic fail, even with Robert Downey Jr. doing a cameo in my dreams. That was unexpected and I certainly didn’t get my answer. The boys and I had been planning on going to see Black Panther then next day, so I’m sure Marvel movies were somewhere in my thoughts. Hence, Iron Man.)

So, finally, I was down to my last option: I had to just work on the damn story.

It’s hard when you don’t know where to begin or where you’re going. I don’t have to (or want to) know the whole path, but I honestly had written myself into a corner. I had the one thing that had been suggested in book 1 and I had the unexpected, both in the same scene. But how was I going to fix it?

I edited the story, the part that I had dictated out. It needed transitions and adjustments. It started to pull me into the story like quicksand. I was going under. Worse, I was thrashing about trying to free myself because I didn’t know how I would succeed. Remember, my time for drafts and failures is over for this book. I don’t have time for that.

Then I slipped beneath the surface. That’s when the answer was delivered. Like a shiny gem, unexpected and beautiful. It was something that in two days of wrangling I had not thought about at all. I swear I could have slapped my head at that moment too. So bleeding obvious! Especially since in fixing another transition, I had mentioned something that will end up being some foreshadowing for this scene. I will admit that I’m only realizing how I need to go back and tweak that scene as I’m reflecting on it, but it will work out nicely.

Yes, trust the process.

In fact, this scene is telling me larger sections of the story as a whole. It really is amazing me. I wish that this part of the process wasn’t such a struggle sometimes, that is wasn’t like labor: pain, suffering, over, miracle in your arms.

Yet maybe that is what helps to humble artists. If everything came too easily, we wouldn’t appreciate it when we step back to realize that we’ve created something from nothing. We might not appreciate the stories we’ve been given to tell.

When you step into the quicksand, you must remember to be still and let yourself float. The story will save you.

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Progress – November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017

I don’t really have anything to say. Thanksgiving was good. I enjoyed the time with my boys. And I got some writing done. What more needs said?

Here’s this week’s numbers.

Fiction words written last week: 8,957 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,750 words including a character sketch which feels like Loki popped his head in to narrate part of it.

Writing month to date total:  35,471 words

Writing year to date total: 351,912 words

Drawing/painting last week: Some sketching. I chided myself a lot about not working on my comics, promised myself I’d make a plan and schedule some time. Yeah, nothing got done. I know that I have to want to do it, not make it be a should do. I guess I haven’t properly figured out why I want to work on my comics and kids books, at least not enough to find the motivation to charge ahead. I do know some of it really is making time to put myself in the chair to do the work. I do need to schedule time. Once I’m started, I always enjoy myself. I have no issues with self-direction, except when it comes to my drawing. I think I have a lot of things right now which are frustrating me (and, no, I really don’t want to share).

Audio: Almost 7 hours of editing audio. See, this is one of the things I have scheduled to do in my days and it gets done. I’ll share that much.

See you on Wednesday for Onesong.


Progress – November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017

This has been a week where I feel like I’ve been busy but I can’t say that I’ve been productive. There is a difference and I generally try to stay away from busy work to do productive work. Yet, this week I’m not sure it was a success.

I promised myself that I would take my time in getting Quest for the Three Books up as the replacement for The Three Books. Yeah, well, it hijacked my life and I had to get it done. After all, how could I put out another book (Space Ninjas Aren’t Real on 11/21) listing The Three Books and having one more book I will have to correct? That is Read the rest of this entry »